What do I work with?
My education is molecular biology, and I completed my PhD degree in 2005. After that, I have had many different roles and projects in research group G1 (Endocrine Medicine). I like it best “in the lab” but, unfortunately, I do not have so much time anymore for that. I still try to do lab tasks myself, especially when introducing and optimizing new methods, and I try to perform some lab task each week. I spend most of my time to supervise master’s, PhD students, and postdocs, and to coordinate and discuss upcoming and ongoing projects and results with my internal colleagues and external partners. Of course, applications, articles, reports, etc. must also be written. A lot of time is spent on zoom meetings, both inside and outside corona time.
My research “in a large perspective” focuses on finding causal mechanisms for endocrine autoimmunity, and to translate this knowledge to improved therapy for patients with these diseases. In more detail, I lead two projects. The aim of the first project is to identify monogenic autoimmune diseases by genome sequencing of families with accumulation of endocrine autoimmunity, and the aims of the second is to “single cell” analyse regulatory T cells in patients with autoimmune diseases to investigate how we can use such cells as targets or tools for therapy. In both projects, collaboration between different professions is required; physicians to recruit patients, molecular biologists to perform laboratory experiments, and bioinformatics and geneticists to help get results out of the “big data” research. After that, collaboration with the biologists again is required to get “meaning out of the results”. These are demanding, but exciting, processes! I learn new things every day!
Techniques we carry out in our lab are standard molecular biology and immunology such as cell culture, PCR, real-time PCR, ELISA, various other immunoassays etc. We collaborate with the core facilities at UiB for flow cytometry, Cytof and RNA sequencing, and with external partners for e.g. genome sequencing and genome wide association (GWAS) experiments.
Why do I like working at K2?
I often think that I am super-lucky who get to work with something that is exciting, and that challenges me every day. K2 is an institution that, both physically and professionally, is close to Haukeland University Hospital. Genes and the immune system have fascinated me since I “knew that they existed”, and being allowed to dig into this because we are so closely linked to the medical department, and that we have access to methodology that are needed, is very awarding. We have many different competences in the research group, and collaboration internally is important both socially and professionally. The doctors in the group often work clinically at the same time. This means that we can find new problems and hypotheses together with them, which we can try to solve in the laboratory, and the path is then short to turn to the patients again with new knowledge. From bed-to bench-and back again. The fact that we have a registry and biobank, that we can utilize as material for research, is a fantastic resource.
K2 and the lab block have very nice laboratory facilities, and the way is short to my internal partners in other research groups (special medical genetics) and the core facilities. The core facilities are truly something we should strive for so that we avoid researchers sitting in each corner with his/her private/own machine and who spend time learning the same advanced techniques.
Working at K2 also gives me the opportunity to supervise students at various levels, something I like very well. It challenges me, and makes me find things I do not know, that I have to learn. That leads to personal and scientific development.
So that is why I like to work here!